After his Sunday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis turned his attention to capital punishment — and the overall treatment of prisoners in general — calling on all Christians to work toward abolishing the death penalty.
He also asked for government leaders worldwide, and those of Catholic faith, specifically, to halt any executions during this Holy Year of Mercy.
“I appeal to the conscience of the rulers, so that we achieve an international consensus for the abolition of the death penalty,” Francis told the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “And I propose to those among them who are Catholics to make a courageous and exemplary gesture that no sentence is executed in this Holy Year of Mercy.”
... His words came on the eve of an international conference organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a new movements in the Catholic Church, being held in Rome Monday and Tuesday. The conference is titled, “A World without the Death Penalty.”
According to Vatican Radio, the pope went on to explain: “The commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill' ... has absolute value, and concerns both the innocent and the guilty,” and even criminals “maintain the inviolable right to life, the gift of God.”
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